Published: 2017-09-24 12:47
Last Updated: 2017-09-24 16:35
The Force was strong with late Saudi King Faisal during the signing of the Charter of the United Nations in 1945, as it appears that Yoda was present with him during the historic occasion, as depicted in a Saudi school textbook.
The beloved Star Wars characters was featured on a Saudi history textbook in a photograph, sitting next to King Faisal as he was signing the Charter.
Twitter in Saudi Arabia had a field day with the Jedi Master’s appearance in the textbook, with hashtags demanding the resignation of the Saudi Minister of Education trending.
Ahmad Al Eissa, Saudi Minister of Education, apologised for the publication of the image, and tweeted that “the Ministry has begun printing a new and corrected version of the textbook, with the old one being withdrawn. A legal committee was formed to identify the source of the error and to take appropriate action.”
وقد بدأت الوزارة بطباعة نسخة مصححة من المقرر وسحب النسخ السابقة، وشكلت لجنة قانونية لتحديد مصدر الخطأ واتخاذ الإجراء المناسب حياله.— د. أحمد العيسى (@aleissaahmed) September 21, 2017
The photo used in the textbook is the work of a 27-year-old Saudi media artist, Abdullah Al Shehri, from a series of pictures he did in 2013, featuring superimposed pop culture figures such as Yoda, Darth Vader, and Captain America on famous historical events.
The young artist told the New York Times that he “had no idea” how the picture ended up in the national curriculum, but that he didn’t “mean any offense to the King.”
Shehri said that both Yoda and the late-Saudi King were known for their intelligence and wisdom, and that Yoda, and his lightsaber, both shared the colour of the Saudi flag.
Shehri tweeted, “the creative director of the textbook could have found a high resolution picture from the UN archives for free, but they instead chose to violate my intellectual and literary properties.”
كان بإستطاعة المخرج الفني للمنهج ان يحصل على صورة عالية الدقة من ارشيف الامم المتحدة مجانا ولكنه لم يختار سوى انتهاك حقوقي الادبية والفكرية.— شاويش (@Shaweesh_) September 22, 2017
Darth Vader, another popular Star Wars character, was featured in another of Shehri’s work, superimposed on the front page of an edition of the Egyptian Al Akhbar newspaper, with the title, “Darth Vader, the Arab delegation’s guest of honour at the Versailles Peace Conference, 1919.”
Unfortunately, Saudi youth must unlearn what they have learned about Yoda's rapport with King Faisal and other representatives of UN countries, but we hope to see more of the ancient Jedi and the rest of our Star Wars favourites in future textbooks around the world.